Theater 120C: Final Paper
In The Maltese Falcon (1941), Humphrey Bogart plays Sam Spade, a private eye detective who is lured into the chase for a bird statue by a mysterious and deceitful woman named Ruth. His objectives are to find the Maltese Falcon, and discover the murderer of two crimes: the death of his former partner, Miles Archer, and another man named Thursby. He also wishes to prove his innocence for the murder of his partner because the police have him as the prime suspect. Sam approaches these problems by using his street smarts and investigative skills to follow a trail. Many times, he uses his uncanny ability to read expressions, words, and actions to see through lies and find the truth. This is evident when “Ruth” returns to his office and Spade reveals he knew she was lying all along about her sister’s disappearance (17:10). She eventually reveals her true identity as Brigid, and Sam is able to pull so many facts out of her that normal people would overlook. The obstacles to his goal are the many forces searching for the Maltese Falcon, and how each of them vie for his services. Sam Spade encounters man vs. man conflicts throughout the movie. His first conflict is versus the two police officers—Lieutenant Dundy and Detective Polhaus—because they accuse him of murdering his partner (10:38). Proving his innocence is one of Sam’s goals, and to do that, he pursues the Maltese Falcon because the people searching for it are somehow involved in the murder. He also encounters a man vs. man conflict with Brigid O'Shaughnessy who tells multiple lies from the story about her sister to her identity (05:07). She is manipulative, and mysterious. She is responsible for killing Spade’s partner, Archer, and she orchestrated the murder of her former partner, Thursby, to retain 100% of the Falcon’s profits. Sam has man vs. man conflict with Gutman, Wilmer, and Cairo because they disagree on the value of the Falcon and the method of acquiring it. Wilmer on many...
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